Dec 22, 2022
Chanuka | The Evolution of a Berakha, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom
What is the meaning of the phrase "bayamim hahem bazeman hazeh" - both in birkat hanisim and al hanisim?
The well-known and familiarly sung 2nd Berakha that accompanies the lighting of the Ner Chanuka is praise for God Who has wrought great miracles for our ancestors...בימים ההם בזמן הזה - "in those days at this time". These last four words were not always included in the berakha and in some versions, there was a conjuctive letter "vav" - בימים ההם ובזמן הזה that carries a different meaning. We trace the development of this berakha, propose its genesis and earliest sources and then, following the changes in wording, suggest that the earlier formulation reflected a distinct appreciation for the holiday of Chanuka (and much the same may be said about Purim). This shiur was given in memory of Mrs. Shirley Jungreis - שולמית בת משה העניך ז"ל.